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Man is one of first amputees fit with new bionic knee

Fit with the microprocessor-controlled knee
Posted at 4:20 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-08 16:20:23-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Angel Vargas walking with ease thanks to a new prosthetic and the support of his long-time therapist Peter DiPaolo at Hanger Clinic.

"Angel is one of our more active patients and he's needs the technology to keep up with him and his lifestyle,” Senior Clinician at Hanger Clinic Peter DiPaolo said.

For Angel, the new leg is a way to keep up with his five kids and his landscape business.

"It's actually how I lost my leg is landscaping as a kid and people ask why are you still doing lawns and It just never stopped me," Angel Vargas said.

Angel was just five years old when he fell off his dad's mower.

"And he didn't realize that I had fallen off the mower and when we backed up kind of backed over the left leg and from there that's how I lost my leg."

Forty years later he's now getting the latest technology, a knee and lower leg that's programmable.

"You can in real time adjust the knee from your smartphone,” DiPaolo said.

Angel or his therapist can program in how the leg needs to change for walking up or down hill for example.

"What that means is a computer is walking with you not for you," DiPaolo said.

It's even got what is called anti stumble technology.

"Basically, it helps protect him from tripping and falling," DiPaolo said.

That said, falling down in life is something Angel is clearly not afraid of: embracing new technology, but never forgetting the human touches like Peter's and the nurses at Lee Memorial so many years ago when his 5-year-old was airlifted there.

"There was one in particular nurse who had a Mickey Mouse watch I would never forget her. She was always there for me."

Now he's ready to continue to be there for wherever he walks into life next.